The eBay Partner Network announced out of the blue that they are dropping loyalty sites until at least October.
The question this immediately raised in multiple heads was, of course, “why?”
Did eBay give any kind of explanation for what they did? Are they trying to test their own loyalty program?
Interesting train of thought. This was one of the first things I also started thinking about. But no, it doesn’t seem that that’s where they’re going with this.
A few hours ago AuctionBytes.com posted some clarification from eBay Partner Network‘s head for the U.S., JJ McCarthy. who explained the move as a provisional step “as the company reassesses the business value of its cash-back programs”. McCarthy said:
One of the challenges associated with running a large-scale affiliate program is understanding the incremental value of each individual partnership… In recent weeks, we have been studying our cashback and loyalty publisher segment in detail in order to feel more comfortable with the ROI we are receiving from those partnerships. After careful analysis and thorough internal debate, we decided that the only way to gain a definitive (quantified) understanding of the value of these partnerships is to conduct a “go dark” test.
While we understand that administering such a test in the live environment will create hardship for our Loyalty partners and their users, we feel this is a necessary step in order for us to maintain our confidence in this marketing method. The goal of this exercise, in the end, is not to reach a binary decision between continue/discontinue this form of partnerships, but rather to quantify the incremental value of these partnerships and to price them properly so that we can all continue working together with full confidence going forward. [source]
So, it’s a “go dark” test the goal of which is to “quantify the incremental value of these partnerships and to price them properly”; which, in its turn, seems to be in line with eBay’s whole Quality Click Pricing model/idea.